Crash.net:
How is your pre-season training going Jonas?

Jonas Folger:
I'm in Spain. I'm training at the moment but I'm a little bit ill the last days. But I'm ok now. After Christmas I went back to Spain and started training with my trainer. We did a lot of bicycle and a lot of things outside. We were training really hard and are still training hard at the moment between the testing. Most of the time we were training outside and in the gym. I've been doing a lot of motocross and supermoto.

Crash.net:
You were present at the Superprestigio in December - is dirt track something you spend a lot of time doing?

Jonas Folger:
It's fun but really I don't make so much dirtrack. We do more supermoto and motocross. We just got prepared more or less for this event in Barcelona to be a little bit competitive. It's more fun than training for us.

Crash.net:
You recently decided to move to the north of Catalunya, where you share a house with Marcel Schr?tter. What was the thinking behind the move?

Jonas Folger:
Yeah, [we moved] two years ago. I decided to go because of the weather conditions in Germany. It's really difficult to [go] training and to do something with bikes, especially in the wintertime.

Crash.net:
At the first Jerez test you were consistently inside the top ten. Are you satisfied with your progress?

Jonas Folger:
I'm happy. I'm happy about my condition because I feel much stronger than last year. [In] the testing we were trying many things with the new bike. We tried different settings that we were not able to try last year during the season. We did many things and spent a lot of time trying different things. We really don't focus on the lap time but anyway I think we can be happy about our position. Crash.net:
I read a quote that said you changed some settings back to those of last year and the machine immediately felt better...

Jonas Folger:
Exactly. We start with the basic settings that we had last year over the whole season. In the beginning of this Jerez test we try different things, completely different settings that we never tried. We spent two days trying things and trying to find a different way. Finally we came back more or less to the old bike that we already had last year. But it's good because now we know which direction we will go with the bike and we can focus more on the details now.

Crash.net:
Are there many differences between this year's Kalex and the one on which you finished the 2014 season?

Jonas Folger:
Not really. They modify the chassis but it looks completely the same as last year. It's just that it's stiffer in some parts but you can't see from outside. It's better on the traction and the feeling into the corner with the front. There is a bit more trust in the front [now]. But not a big change. Anyway this bike is already really good so I think they made a good change on the chassis.

Crash.net:
You achieved some excellent results in your debut season in the class, notably in the first six races. Were your performances better than you initially expected?

Jonas Folger:
Yeah, of course. The first part of the season was really nice. I didn't expect and no one expected that I would go twice on the podium and make a pole position and staying at the front almost all the time. I really enjoyed this. Then maybe in the second part of the season I put too much pressure on myself because I already had these results and I really wanted to continue like this. So I start to make mistakes and I put too much pressure on myself. I was not really free. I must say I was training also this winter. [I did] mental training and I tried also to focus on being more relaxed in difficult situations.

Crash.net:
How do you approach this 'mental training'?

Jonas Folger:
That's kind of a secret! It's just training hard and this makes you stronger mentally. Then there is a special training that everyone has to find for himself. I do some breathing training, some relaxing training and this helps me to get more relaxed in difficult situations.

Crash.net:
Moto2 was different last year. You suddenly had class rookies like you, Salom and Vi?ales scoring podiums [and even wins] early in the season. Is that because you had gained four-stroke experience in Moto3?

Jonas Folger:
I don't know. I mean Maverick is really a strong rider. I think we were riders that adapt really quick to the bikes. We just get the feeling really quick and as I say if you are a rookie you don't have any pressure. Without pressure everything is more easy.

Crash.net:
How did you initially start motorcycle racing? Was your family always interested in bikes when you were a child?

Jonas Folger:
My father was riding when he was younger in the German championship. Then my uncle was racing. He had even a wild-card in 1996 in the 125 [class]. Always there were motorbikes in my family. My father was always interested in motorbikes. I grew up in the paddock when my uncle was riding in the nineties so I always had bikes around me and always watched the races. When I was three or three and a half I had my first my bike. It was a Malaguti 50cc motocross bike. I start with off-road until I was seven years old. Then I tried a minibike Honda 50cc. [Then] I really start to love road racing.

Crash.net:
You travelled to Spain to work with Alberto Puig's team at a young age. How did you find this experience?

Jonas Folger:
I did the German championship on minibikes for four years. Then I won every season. In 2006 I went to Spain to Alberto Puig's team that he had with Dorna called the MotoGP Academy. I was really lucky to get the chance to be in this team. I was racing there until 2008 when I had wild-cards with this team on a KTM. I had wild-cards all over Europe and then 2009 it was my first season in the world championship.

He [Puig] gave me such a big opportunity. Also to make the step to the world championship he was such a big help with Dorna. I like working with him. Maybe I was a bit too young to understand all the things but I saw many things really professional. I was twelve and I was in such a professional team and had such professional people around me. I was getting used to it really early so that was a really good point.

Crash.net:
You made a real impression at the beginning of 2009. I remember in Jerez you came from 35th on the grid to second before crashing. You seemed to be a quick learner.

Jonas Folger:
Yeah, I remember that race. 2009 I had like a similar year to last year [2014]. I was not really constant but in some races I always show up. I didn't have the consistency to stay all the year. But I remember in this first year I had some great races, especially in Jerez. It was really a highlight - until the crash!

Crash.net:
2011 was a breakthrough year in some respects as you scored your first grand prix win at Silverstone while racing with Aki Ajo's team...

Jonas Folger:
With Aki I had a good experience. I had great materials and a great team. Maybe I was not... I had one season when I was ill and I couldn't do a race, in the Czech Republic. After that I had to change the bike. Things were getting a bit difficult. It was a good year but also a tough year. It was not easy but I had a great experience. But I could have done more out of this situation. I learnt all these things. I had many tough seasons and it took me a while to understand what I have to do and which way I have to go. It was one of the toughest years with Aki for me.

Crash.net:
As you mentioned you had some medical problems but several rumours circulated which called your commitment into question. How difficult was this to deal with?

Jonas Folger:
At this time I was ill. I lost one race because I couldn't race. After this things were really difficult because I had to change the bike and people were speaking different things. It was not easy. But it's the past, I'm over it and I forget those things. I'm looking forward, it's already some years ago. It happens.

Crash.net:
2012 [edit] was a year of extremes for you. Before you showed your ability with Aspar's team you rode the hopelessly uncompetitive Ioda Moto3 entry while struggling with glandular fever. Was this the most difficult period of your career?

Jonas Folger:
Yeah, I didn't have the best material in this time. It was hard. I was just trying to show my talent and to make any result. I almost didn't finish every race because of the engine and the bike. It was not easy and it was maybe the toughest time of my career in the world championship. I was lucky I had the chance to go to the Aspar team, to Jorge Martinez. He gave me another opportunity with the Kalex bike and then things were changing really quick.

Crash.net:
How did the relationship with Aspar develop?

Jonas Folger:
Personally I didn't know him really good before. At this time I knew they had some changes with their riders. I think one rider went out and they were looking for another one. My manager told me they were interested in me and at the beginning I couldn't believe it because I was at the worst part of my career. I was really surprised. But then I got the chance. I changed to his team after the summer break and went to Indianapolis. During the season with my new leather suit and stepped on the KTM bike and things were really different. Suddenly I had a really good bike again and I was on top from one to another race. This feeling was really incredible.

Crash.net:
I guess these experiences you had with your health, Ajo and Ioda were character building, especially as you were still a teenager. Do you feel they have made you a stronger rider now?

Jonas Folger:
I mean I had many situations already and I'm just in a part of my life now where I'm more clear. Things are more organised and I'm back on a good way again. It's just beautiful. I can enjoy racing more again. I can enjoy racing more than I've done ever before.

Crash.net:
Considering how the riders with a Kalex KTM struggled in Moto3 in 2014 do you feel your performances on the same bike the year before were underappreciated?

Jonas Folger:
No, I don't feel like this. I felt not sad, how can I say... I think after my year in Moto3 [in 2013] people were talking really bad about the Kalex Moto3 bike. Like no one liked it and everyone said it wasn't a good bike. All the people changed to KTM or Honda. So I think Kalex's bike was really good. I don't know why people talked so bad about it. I don't think that my bike was not that good like the other ones. I mean I didn't have the factory KTM bike. Like I didn't get the new engine parts at the same time as the KTM team but it was enough for a podium or even to win a race. I had really good material and I cannot say anything bad about it.

Crash.net:
You are obviously good friends with Marcel Schr?tter but is there a mini-rivalry between the other German riders in the Moto2 class?

Jonas Folger:
To be honest I don't think about to finish in front of the other Germans. I have my goals in general and I'm looking more on my goals and expectations than the other German riders.

Crash.net:
At the first Jerez test we saw a big jump in performance from your team-mate Axel Pons. He has had his critics in the past but were you surprised to see him riding so well?

Jonas Folger:
This change until now was impressive because he is really constant and he's doing really fast lap times. I think he worked a lot through the winter and he looks really strong to me. I hope he will have a great season because he's a great person, a great rider and I think we can work good together.

Crash.net:
Looking ahead to 2015, what are your aims for the upcoming season?

Jonas Folger:
My personal goal is to be more constant than I was last year. I know that I can do podiums. I know that I can set the fastest lap time so I'm sure that we can do it also this year. I want to be more strong, more constant and to be there every race. It was my first year last year and I want to show that I am stronger than last year.

Crash.net:
Who do you foresee as your biggest challengers? The reigning world champion is surely the man to beat...

Jonas Folger:
First of all it's Tito because he's the world champion of last year. There are many riders. I can name many. I think the top ten of the Moto2 of the moment are able to make the podium or win a race so it's really hard to say now who will be the constant, fast rider. But I'm sure Tito will be one of them. Thomas Luthi will be really strong and constant. He's a really experienced rider. And the rest, we'll see. I hope I will stay there also! The podium is my goal in Qatar for sure.

Crash.net:
Finally Jonas, last year Marc Marquez said that he would choose you to ride his bikes if he owned and managed a MotoGP team. Do you take notice of these kinds of comments?

Jonas Folger:
I was really surprised, proud and happy at the same time to hear this from Marc. We were racing together [and] I remember the time in the Spanish championship. He's really such a great guy and it's nice to hear that he believes in me and my riding. It was a big compliment for me.

 

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